How Long Does it Actually Take to Become Rich?

How long does it take for the average rich person to become rich? Ten years, twenty years? How about thirty-two years. That’s how long it took the average self-made millionaire, according to my data. It took 38 years for 52% and 42 years for 21% to become rich. Only a handful, 4%, became wealthy in less than 27 years.

Let me share some of my data with you. 76% of the wealthy in my Rich Habits Study ( were self-made millionaires. They came from non-wealthy households . 31% of these self-mades came from poor households. 45% came from middle-class households. What’s more compelling about the data I gathered, is the age in which these self-made millionaires actually rang and bell and struck it rich. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1% (2 out of 233) became wealthy before the age of 40
  • 3% (6 out of 233) became wealthy between age 40 and 55
  • 16% (38 out of 233) became wealthy between age 46 and 50
  • 28% (66 out of 233) became wealthy between age 51 and 55
  • 31% (73 out of 233) became wealthy between age 56 and 60
  • 21% (48 out of 233) became wealthy after the age of 60

The romanticized notion of getting rich quick always finds an eager audience. We are stimulated by stories about the young and the wealthy. The immediate success of youthful billionaires like Facebook’s Mark Zukerberg or Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brinbut play to our get rich quick desires. We obsess over stories about lottery winners. And the lottery people know it. California’s lottery catchphrase is Imagine What a Buck Could Do. New York’s lottery catchphrase is  Dollar and a Dream. Australia’s got a dandy: Live a Lotto Life. There is even a popular reality T.V. show called Lottery Changed My Life about how the lives of lottery winners were changed. Immediate gratification, especially when it comes to wealth accumulation, is the rallying cry of many in the modern world these days.

Unfortunately, getting rich quickly is a rare phenomenon. It’s clear from the above data that accumulating wealth takes a very long time. It just doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, 80% of the self-made millionaire in the Rich Habits Study did not become wealthy until after age 50. What’s even worse, 27% of these self-made millionaires tried and failed at least once in business. The path to riches is a long lonely one, paved with many potholes and numerous dead ends. Those few who do make it, are seasoned veterans in the world of entrepreneurs, deserving of their own, well-deserved catchphrase – Self-Made Millionaire.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Elias Wafula Onyango says:

    thanks for giving me hope that i still have enough time to join the millionaires club. i 38 and was worried was running out of time.

    • These two facts cannot both be correct?

      3% (6 out of 233) became wealthy between age 40 and 55
      16% (38 out of 233) became wealthy between age 46 and 50

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